Memory disorders

Memory changes may occur as a result of normal aging, or may be due to a number of different medical or emotional problems.


Normal aging

Some forgetfulness is expected with normal aging.

Aging changes the brain and therefore your memory abilities change as well. This is normal (providing there are no underlying medical conditions) and is referred to as “age-related” memory change.

There are several factors that may improve your memory:

  • staying physically fit (exercise)
  • mental activities (reading, crossword puzzles, educational experiences)
  • social activity
  • healthy diet (lower fat and cholesterol)

Dementia-related conditions

Dementia is usually a progressive neurological condition. It can result in poor memory and can cause problems with thinking and judgement.

Dementia can be caused by many diseases, however Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Although the vast majority of dementias are not reversible, there are a number of treatments that may be helpful.

Some of the common dementia conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Vascular Dementia

For detailed information about these conditions, please check our Health Topics (A-Z).


Other Medical Conditions

Other conditions such as the following may also contribute to memory loss:

  • Alcoholism
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Medications
  • Depression or other mood-related disorders

Learn more about memory at our Memory and Aging website